Association of Pyuria with Uropathogens in Young Children

Shahid Nadeem, Matthias M. Manuel, Oluwaseun K. Oke, Vatsal Patel, Laura M. Filkins, Mohamed K. Badawy, Jason Y. Park, Halim Hennes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To examine the association between uropathogens and pyuria in children <24 months of age. Study design: A retrospective study of children <24 months of age evaluated in the emergency department for suspected urinary tract infection (UTI) with paired urinalysis and urine culture during a 6-year period. Bagged urine specimens or urine culture growing mixed/multiple urogenital organisms were excluded. Analysis was limited to children with positive urine culture as defined by the American Academy of Pediatrics clinical practice guideline culture thresholds. Results: Of 30 462 children, 1916 had microscopic urinalysis and positive urine culture. Urine was obtained by transurethral in-and-out catheterization in 98.3% of cases. Pyuria (≥5 white blood cells per high-powered field) and positive leukocyte esterase (small or more) on the urine dipstick were present in 1690 (88.2%) and 1692 (88.3%) of the children respectively. Children with non-Escherichia coli species were less likely to exhibit microscopic pyuria than children with E coli (OR 0.24, 95% CI 0.17-0.34) with more pronounced effect on Enterococcus and Klebsiella (OR 0.08, 95% CI 0.03-0.18 and OR 0.18, 95% CI 0.11-0.27 respectively). Similarly, positive leukocyte esterase was less frequently seen in non-E coli uropathogens compared with E coli. Conclusions: Pyuria and leukocyte esterase are not sensitive markers to identify non-E coli UTI in young children. More sensitive screening biomarkers are needed to identify UTI with these uropathogens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • children
  • pyuria
  • urinary tract infection
  • uropathogen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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